BIKANER TRAVEL GUIDE
Lying in the north of the desert state, the city is dotted with scores of sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that permeates the city's lifestyle. More readily called the camel country, the city is distinguished for the best riding camels in the world and hence boasts of having one of the largest Camel research and breeading farm in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of life here. A camel besides doing transportation duties, also works on wells. These are built on high plinths with slender minarets on each of the four corners and can be noticed even from a distance. The history of Bikaner dates back to 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji founded his kingdom. Bikaji was one the five sons of Rao Jodhaji the illustrious founder of Jodhpur. But Rao Bikaji was the most adventurous of them. It is said that an insensitive remark from his father about his whispering in the Durbar provoked Bikaji to set up his own kingdom towards the north of Jodhpur. The barren wilderness called Jangladesh became his focus point and he transformed it to an impressive city. He accomplished his task with 100 cavalry horses and 500 soldiers, and established his kingdom on 84 villages abandoned by the 'Shankhlas'. When Bikaji died in 1504 his rule had extended to over 3000 villages. Modern Bikaner is the result of the foresight of its most eminent ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh (1887 1943) whose reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner transformation from a principality to a premier princely state. The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came from West/Central Asia made it a prime trade centre in those times. Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces, created with delicacy in reddish-pink sandstone, bear testimony to its rich historical and architectural legacy. Surging lanes, colourful bazaars with bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience to explore.
It is an unassailable fortress, which has never been conquered. Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most distinguished generals in the army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat.
This grand palace is an architectural masterwork in red sandstone, and was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh Ji in 1902. Sir Swinton Jacob designed this oriental fantasy. This architecture is a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. The exterior contrasts dramatically with the oriental interiors and amenities. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work, which are hallmarks of a great craftsmanship.
Havelis are ancient mansions of dwelling of the noble and wealthy. They are known for their opulent life style and intricate carvings and craftsmanship along with sprawling courtyards. Bikaner is full of such havelis and the notable amongst them belong to Kotharis, Rampurias, Vaids and Dagas. To view these havelis the suggested route is Gogagate, Daddhon Ka Chowk, Rangari Chowk, Assanion Ka Chowk, Mohta Chowk, Binnanion Ka Chowk Daga Chowk, BK School and Jassuar Gate.
Bhandeswari Jain Temple
It is a fifteenth century temple and is the oldest monument of Bikaner. The temple is decorated with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings.